Written by Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., Motown the Musical began its Broadway run in early 2013, and over a year and four Tony nods later, this show still stands as one of the liveliest, most engaging productions on stage today. Featuring more than 60 songs from the extensive and influential Motown catalog, the show is overflowing with pop hits that formed the soundtrack for many generations, from Mary Wells’ “My Guy” to The Jackson 5’s “ABC” to Rick James’ “Super Freak.” The electrifying energy of the musical is especially evident on big, extended numbers, like the rousing rendition of Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street,” but the whole show keeps the audience dancing in the seats as it covers more than 25 years’ worth of history surrounding this iconic American record label.
Motown the Musical launched its national tour in Chicago in April, and the one-of-a-kind show has already extended its engagement at the city’s Oriental Theatre an extra month to remain through Aug. 9. The show will then move to San Francisco (Aug. 15-Sept. 28) before making its way back to the city where Motown was founded in October. Detroit’s Fisher Theatre will host the show through Nov. 16, and then the tour will move to at least 15 other cities through Sept. 2015, including Durham, N.C. (Feb. 17-22), Los Angeles (April 28-June 27), and Dallas (July 28-Aug. 16), among many others. The production also remains on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
While the musical is an exceptional tribute to the artists and writers that shaped modern music, many of the acts that got their start at Motown are still actively performing today. Diana Ross—whose long-running romance with Berry Gordy Jr. is a central part of the Motown the Musical plot—is currently on the road. She has plans to perform in more than 15 cities through the end of the year, including major venues like The Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York (June 21) and Baltimore’s Lyric Opera House (June 28). Former Commodores frontman Lionel Richie also is currently touring with his extended All the Hits All Night Long Tour, which features special guest Cee Lo Green. The venture is scheduled to last through at least early August.
In 2014, Motown fans also will be able to see the legendary Smokey Robinson perform big hits like “Shop Around” and “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” as he has more than a dozen shows lined up for the year. Surviving members of The Temptations and The Four Tops also will be touring this year—many times performing on one concert bill in cities like Atlanta (June 27), Bethel, N.Y. (Aug. 1), and more.